Polecat Found In The Garden!

November 27th, 2018

Everybody was surprised and delighted yesterday when Chris The Gardener found an unexpected animal in one of his live rabbit traps. It was the unusual smell which first alerted him as he approached the trap, which was in the corner of the walled garden in front of How Hill house. Closer inspection revealed an extremely cute and incredibly stinky European polecat – what a catch! The polecat was understandably quite jumpy and keen to be on its way so it was immediately released back into the garden. Chris hopes that it will help to keep the rabbit numbers down, many of which rudely ignore the rabbit-proof-fence which surrounds the How Hill gardens.

Polecats were once common in the area but were almost wiped out by hunting because of their appetite for chickens and game birds. This is the first confirmed sighting of a polecat at How Hill for many years, although during the summer one school’s nocturnal camera traps did capture footage of a ‘mystery animal’ which now seems likely to have been a polecat. It is believed that polecats first returned to the Thetford area of Norfolk in 2010, and they have been slowly extending their range ever since.

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Friends of How Hill Craft Fair – A Great Success

October 29th, 2018

Last Wednesday the Friends of How Hill (the brilliant band of volunteers who support the charity) put on another excellent craft fair, which raised a triumphant £2254.26 for the How Hill Trust. Once again it was a lovely sunny day and several hundred visitors came to browse the varied craft stalls, enjoy the demonstrations and treat themselves to homemade soup and cakes. The crafts on display included metalwork, weaving, spinning, stained glass, stencilled and painted artwork, beading, all sorts of exciting jewellery, wickerwork, wood turning, quilting, pottery and many more. As it was a day at work for me I didn’t intend to buy anything…but the pull of the stalls was too strong to resist! I came away with ten wool and felt jellyfish/octopus Christmas tree decorations, a dress made from upcycled tablecloths, several pounds of Ivor’s legendary raspberry jam and four giant leeks!

Thank you to all the Friends who helped out, especially Chief Organiser Bella. You did a grand job.

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Hathor Sails Home For The Winter

October 18th, 2018

Wherry Hathor has had a busy summer moored down at the staithe, where she has welcomed over eight thousand visitors on board. It is lovely having Hathor at How Hill. She makes the riverside even more picturesque than usual, and even from the house her mast and Jenny Morgan (wind vane) can be seen poking up above the trees. Hathor’s skipper Peter Bower becomes an honorary member of the How Hill team and can be found most mornings drinking coffee in the office with Sam the dog at his feet. But like the swallows which circle over Fisherman’s Field, Peter and Hathor are seasonal visitors. On a quiet Saturday in late September she sailed off down the river and back to her permanent moorings at Wherry Yacht Charter’s base in Wroxham.

It takes a lot of work to keep a historic boat like Hathor afloat and this winter she will be pulled out of the water for some essential maintenance. A team will clean the hull and scrape off the zebra mussels which have attached themselves. Any decayed planks will be replaced and then the whole boat will be prepared and treated with fresh coats of paint, varnish or linseed oil. Luckily Wherry Yacht Charter have a fantastic team of volunteers who seem to revel with sandpaper in hand!

Hathor will return to How Hill next May – September when she will be open for public viewing, chartered sailings and school visits.

 

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Looking Back at a Brilliant Summer

September 9th, 2018

When the school visits stop the house and grounds are opened up for a range of public events. Our four Family Fun Days were attended by a record 520 guests who made many wondrous crafts and took part in lots of exciting nature-based activities. Wherry Hathor has been visited by over 8000 people since she moored up at How Hill staithe at the beginning of May. The tea room served over 4000 scones and pieces of homemade cake to thousands of hungry customers. The house and gardens have seen numerous private parties and the darkest nooks and crannies were thoroughly explored on the Heritage Open Days. Lively theatre group The Pantaloons performed on the field and a residential art group enjoyed the beautiful view from the house.

A real highlight of the summer was our sailing holiday on board Ardea – the largest and grandest pleasure wherry ever built. The intrepid party of Broads fans travelled over six days from Wroxham to finally arrive in Norwich, where Ardea had not been seen for nearly sixty years.

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Tearoom Open Every Day All Summer

July 17th, 2018

From this weekend until Sunday the 9th of September the How Hill tearoom will be open every day from 11am to 4pm.

We serve a delicious selection of homemade cakes which may include chocolate and orange, local blackberry drizzle, bakewell slice, trillionaire’s shortbread, fruit and guinness, Victoria sponge, coffee and walnut and ginger cake. There is usually a dairy free and gluten free option. We also sell freshly made scones and sandwiches, local ice creams and hot and cold drinks.

The tearoom is located in the wooden building to the rear of How Hill House, and is signposted from the public car park.

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How Hill Gardener Appeals To Seed Thieves

June 18th, 2018

Every year thousands of people enjoy free access to How Hill’s splendid Secret Gardens, but recently a few people have been abusing the privilege. Chris Tubby, How Hill’s hardworking gardener, has had great success in the last few years growing Himalayan Blue Poppies. These unusual flowers are a stunning sky blue, but are notoriously tricky to propagate. Chris keeps a couple of raised beds especially for these fussy beauties, but when he went to inspect them today he was shocked to discover that their precious seed heads had been stolen!

”I can’t believe it” exclaimed Chris (62). ”It’s such a pointless thing to do because those seeds won’t even germinate. They need to ripen on the plant then be frozen for a few months first. It’s such a waste and it means that there may not be any new plants next year.  Please stop doing it!”

How Hill staff are shocked and saddened.

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Magnificent Secret Gardens In Bloom!

May 17th, 2018

As you wander down the woodland path towards the gardens you can smell the scent from the flowers before you even catch a glimpse of their glorious colours through the trees. For a few weeks in May the azaleas and rhododendrons set this hidden garden ablaze with their vibrant display. Specimen trees, shrubs and interesting plants such as the Himalayan blue poppy can also been seen.

A free map and guide to the Secret Gardens can be collected near the entrance, or you can read it here.

The gardens are free to visit, but a donation towards their upkeep would be much appreciated.

Don’t forget your camera!

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Pleasure Wherry Hathor Returns to How Hill

May 10th, 2018

The beautiful Edwardian pleasure wherry will spend the summer moored up at How Hill staithe, where she will be open to the public for much of the time. Hathor (pronounced “heart-or”) was built in 1905 in Reedham. She was designed by Edward Boardman, who also designed and lived in How Hill house.

Hathor is now owned and maintained by Wherry Yacht Charter. For more detailed information about her history please visit their website.

If you enjoy Hathor then you would love Ardea – the largest and most magnificent wherry ever built! This August the How Hill Trust is running a unique holiday break. Stay at How Hill house and sail on board Ardea from Wroxham to Norwich stopping at How Hill, Womack, Great Yarmouth, Cantley and Brundall. Full details here.

 

 

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Spring Cleaning Fever Hits How Hill

April 5th, 2018

It all started when we decided to repaint the office. How Hill is a busy organisation and the office is a place for planning, eating, working, filing, storing equipment and collecting craft materials. The walls showed at least three different colours and bore the scars of many past fixtures and fittings. Over two hectic days the office was transformed in a frenzy of ruthless de-cluttering, filing, sanding and painting and it is now a serene haven of organisation and productivity. Well, it is at least all the same colour.

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Beast From The East Hits How Hill

March 6th, 2018

Children from Wymeswold Church of England Primary School got snowed in at How Hill as drifts blocked the roads… what an adventure!

The group arrived on Monday morning and soon began their 2 ½ day programme of activities including dyke dipping, exploring the reserve, boating to Barton Broad, thatching, visiting Toad Hole Cottage Museum, dissecting owl pellets, orienteering and environmental art. On Tuesday the snow started falling and we made sure that the children were well wrapped up with plenty of time to play outside and enjoy the novelty weather conditions. How Hill is beautiful at any time of year, but in the snow it is magical.

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